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Development of Education

  • Some background information

    It is a common misconception that free education is a part of the United States constitution or the Declaration of Independence. However, the quest for free public education was a long, hard battle. This timeline sets out to mark important events and turning points in education's history.
  • Length of school

    Length of school
    In 1776 students attended less than 82 days of school per annum. The main "textbook" is The Primer, a Protestant bookl that taught reading and the Bible.
  • Jefferson begins his campaign for education

    Jefferson begins his campaign for education
    Thomas Jefferson believed for democracy to work, American citizens needed to be able to read and write. In 1778 he proposed a bill requiring the government to offer 3 years of public school for all children with advanced education for a select few. He called it "raking a few geniuses from the rubbish." It is important to note that advanced education would only be offered to males. The farmers in the nation vehemently opposed this bill. Jefferson was considered a radical and his bill was denied.
  • Jefferson's education bill continues to fight

    Jefferson's education bill continues to fight
    Jefferson's public education bill came up for a vote three times from 1779 to 1817. Each time it was defeated. The farmers opposed the bill because they felt the educatoin was not valuable to their children - who would grow up to be farmers. Other citizens opposed the bill because of the taxes they would be forced to pay.
  • The Blue Back Speller

    The Blue Back Speller
    Noah Webster released a texboook about the United States' new "language" distinguishing American English from England's English.
  • Horace Mann's horseback campaign.

    Horace Mann's horseback campaign.
    Horace Mann was elected the secretary of the board of education. Legend has it he visited over 1000 school on horseback and wrote a report for each one. What he found was a system of inequity. He proposed the government paid for fixing the schools. He had the idea of "common schools" that provide equal knowledge and opportunity for everyone. They would have standardized everything - from buildings to textbooks.
  • Statistics

    1837: attendance: 4 months/year. Annual cost per pupil: $2.81.
    1848: attendance: 7 months/year. Annual cost per pupil: $4.80
  • John Hughes begins campaign for catholic schooling

    John Hughes begins campaign for catholic schooling
    By 1840 half of New York City residents were foreign born. They had issues with their children having Protestant educations. Irish Bishop John Hughes said he was unwilling to pay taxes for Protestant schooling. He urged Irish families to withdraw their children from school. He also wanted the government to allocate funds for Catholic schools. Jewish and other religions agreed.
  • Funding alternate religious schools debated

    Funding alternate religious schools debated
    Pursuant to John Hughes campaign for equitable funding for Catholic schools, other religions joined arms and agreed with Hughes. The outcry was so strong it led to a debate. Unfortunately for them, their request was denied.
  • Segregation questioned

    Approximately 2/3 of the african-american's lived in the south, while the other 1/3 lived in the north and attended segregated schools. In 1846 Boston held a meeting to end segregation. The state investigated and found that the african-american schools were in desperate need of repair. Yet no action was made.
  • Benjamin Roberts' fight

    Benjamin Roberts' fight
    African-American Benjamin Roberts tried to enroll his young daughter in a white school that was not only a better school, but much closer to where they lived. After being denied admittance, he tried at 6 other white schools, all closer to his house. Roberts then sued Boston. People from all sides opposed his decision. In 1849 his case went to the Supreme Court and lost.
  • Massachusetts abolishes segregated schools

    Following Benjamin Roberts' loss in the Supreme Court, the Negro School Abolition Society campaigned to end segregation. In 1855, Massachusetts passed a law ending segregation in their state.
  • Post Civil War

    Post Civil War
    After the Civil War ended in 1865, states were required to guarantee in their constitution that they will provide free and unsegregated schooling.
  • Statistics

    1870: public expenditures: $63 million. Enrollment: 7.6 million.
    1890: public expenditures: $141 million. Enrollment: 12.7 million.
  • Immigrants

    Between 1890 and 1930 over 22 million immigrants came to the United States. Over 3 million of them were children.
  • John Dewey

    John Dewey
    American philosopher John Dewey put out the book "School and Society" in 1899. His book attacked the current curriculum. He is now known as the "Father of progressive education."
  • Statistics

    In 1900 50% of children were in school. Children attended an average of 5 years in school.
  • World's Fair

    World's Fair
    The 1900 World's Fair held in Paris had a huge impact on education. Schools displayed their educational techniques, such as exploring the world and physical activity. This contributed to the rise of progressive education.
  • Gary, Indiana

    Gary, Indiana
    Immigrants gathered along the shores of Lake Michigan, where a steel mill was opened in 1906. William Wart built a school designed to interest the immigrant students. The building was designed for students of all ages, the curriculum was set up to keep students in motion. This was the pinnacle progressive school of the early 20th century. There were lush fields to play on, swimming pools, even a zoo. Wart's motto was "work, study, play."
  • Children working

    Children working
    About 2 million children were working instead of going to school.
  • Gary meets New York

    Gary meets New York
    The "Gary Plan" was put into action in approximately 30 New York schools. This created quite the controversy in New York and had a major impact on the 1917 mayoral election. John Hylan ran against reformer mayor John Mitchel. Mitchel advocated for progressive schools. Hylan attacked the Gary Plan, saying it would only turn out factory workers. The citizens of New York wanted the best education for their children, and Hylan convinced them that the Gary Plan would not give them that.
  • English Only

    English Only
    Former President Theodore Roosevelt was an advocate for the "English Only" curriculum. After the Allies won the warm, all Chicago school children destroyed their textbooks that were written in German.
  • Introduction of IQ tests and career tracking

    Introduction of IQ tests and career tracking
    In the 1920s intelligence quotient (IQ) tests became a popular method of career tracking students. They would give children as young as 5 these tests to determine what career to track them for. Many girls were tracked into household art courses, men who were not the top students went into industrial education. Students got the idea that they went to school so they could get a job. College was only for the smartest students.
  • The problem with IQ tests

    The problem with IQ tests
    The IQ tests were highly subjective and written only in English. This gave immigrant children a disadvantage. From these tests it was determined that ethnicity affected intelligence. This added to the stigma that African-Americans could not learn like caucasions, and that Native American children needed separate schooling.
  • End of child labor and effect on education

    End of child labor and effect on education
    Following the Great Depression of the 1930s, child labor was banned. States required all students to attend school until they reached 16 years of age. Students saw the benefit of attending school and graduatoin rates jumped.
  • What about the average students?

    What about the average students?
    College was only for the elite, and vocational school was not for everyone. The question of what to do with the remaining 60% arose. Schools resumed "progressive education" by providing life adjustment education - teaching students how to date, choose a dentist, etc. It became known as "regressive" education.
  • Statistics

    17 year old high school graduates:
    1900: 6%
    1920: 17%
    1945: 45%
  • Statistics

    60% of students graduate high school.
    50% of students go on to college
  • Segregation

    Educational segregation of blacks and whites becomes a law in 17 states. Average schooling for Mexican Americans was 5.4 years. And 72% of disabled students were not even enrolled in schools.
  • Educational Wastelands

    Educational Wastelands
    Arthur Bestor came out with his 1953 book "Educational Wastelands" criticizing the life adjustment education. He criticized that it spoon fed students, assuming they have no common sense or any brains at all.
  • Brown vs. Board of Education

    Brown vs. Board of Education
    13 African American parents attempted to enroll their students in white schools. After being turned away, they filed a class action lawsuit against the board of education. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that separate but equal violated the constitution. This helped pave the way for the Civil Rights Movement. However, this was unable to stop over 30,000 African American teachers from being displaced.
  • Russia prompts better education for Americans

    Russia prompts better education for Americans
    America got a wake-up call when Russia beat them in the space race with the release of their rocket "Sputnik." Americans panicked and had to reevaluate their system to see where they failed.
  • A racial stand-off

    A racial stand-off
    The Governor of Arkansas called in the National Guard to prevent nine African American students from entering Little Rock High School. However, President Eisenhower dispatched troops to escort the "Little Rock Nine" into the building.
  • Eisenhower's education act

    Eisenhower's education act
    President Dwight Eisenhower pushed through an Education Act giving millions of dollars of funding annual to aid public education. Following the Russian launch of Sputnik, math and science were heavily emphasized in the school system.
  • Segregation continues

    Segregation continues
    Despite the segregation ban, 90% of African American students remained in racially segregated schools. The Civil Rights Act came about in 1964, meaning states and schools could lose funding if they refused to desegregate.
  • Aid at last

    The Elementary and Secondary Education Act provided $4 billion to aid disadvantaged schools.
  • Mexican Americans take a stand

    Mexican Americans take a stand
    In 1968, about 75% of Mexican American students dropped out of school by 8th grade. In 1969, Crystal City Mexican American's drew up a petition to stop being treated so poorly in school. It was subsequently turned down and 2/3 of the students went on strike. In 1970, Mexican Americans gained 4 of the 7 seats and used the Bilingual Education Act (1968) to meet the needs of non-English speaking students.
  • Women take a stand

    Women take a stand
    In the 1970s, women also asked for equal rights. About 1% of the medical and law degrees were given to women. In 1972, Title 9 passed, forbiidding schools to discriminate based on gender. But, it was not followed. In 1974, the federal governement was charged with not enforcing Title 9.
  • Aiding desegregation through busses

    Aiding desegregation through busses
    The US Supreme Court ruled that busing students to school would help desegregation. In 1972, a Federal Judge issued a radical remedy - bus suburban students into the city, and bus city students to suburban schools. This affected about 800,000 students. In 1950, about 13.7% of African American students graduated with a high school degree. By 1980, 51.4% of African American students were graduating high school.
  • Failing schools

    Failing schools
    In the 1980s, 40% of students wasted school years taking courses which were unhelpful to them. In 1983, President Regan blames the Civil Rights Act for poor school performance. Graduation requirements are raised in 35 states between 1983-84. In 1987, East Harlem is found to be outperforming more than one-half of the school districts.
  • Tatum Michelle Gonzalez is born

    Tatum Michelle Gonzalez is born
    Future mathematician and educator Tatum Michelle Gonzalez was born in Phoenix, Arizona. From a young age Tatum loved learning and reading. With a naturally logical and linear mind, math came easy to young Tatum. And, with a love for people, education seemed a natural career choice for her.
  • School choice and Vouchers

    School choice and Vouchers
    In 1992, New York started allowing students to seek enrollment anywhere in the city. President George H. W. Bush implements the voucher system. Vouchers are given to low income families so their students can attend private schools on the state's dime. In the late 1990s, home schooling becomes legal in all 50 states.
  • Public school attendence

    Public school attendence
    During the 2001-2002 school year, 90% of American students were enrolledin public schools.
  • Tatum graduates college

    Tatum graduates college
    In 2012, Tatum Vincent, nee Gonzalez, graduates the University of Alaska Anchorage with a bachelor degree in mathematics. She then continued with the Masters of Arts in Teaching program and UAA.